ETSU reports on state of the university; approves tuition and fees, tenure and promotion at quarterly meeting of trustees

Published 11:29 am Monday, April 24, 2023

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JOHNSON CITY – The vast majority of students, faculty and staff believe East Tennessee State University is living up to its mission, according to the results of the 2022 State of the University survey released today during the quarterly meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees. Ninety-six percent of people surveyed said ETSU is fulfilling its charge to improve the quality of life for people in the region and beyond. 

“Our entire campus community is deeply committed to making our communities – and our world – a better place to live,” ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland said. “I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say this is one of the most mission-driven universities in the United States.” 

The survey, which was administered in late 2022, was intended to gauge students’ and employees’ perceptions of the university. Seventy-one percent of all respondents said they feel that ETSU is headed in the right direction. Eight out of 10 students said that if they were starting their college experience over, they would choose ETSU again.

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The campus environment and atmosphere topped respondents’ list of the best things about ETSU. Employee pay was among the most common areas flagged for improvement. 

To help address the salary issue, the Board today approved a roughly 3% increase in tuition and fees for the fall 2023 semester. The increased rate amounts to in-state students paying approximately $138 more per semester. Administrators noted that the increase in fees will support the 5% pay raise for employees proposed by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee earlier this year.

“Tuition and housing prices at ETSU are among the few expenses that haven’t increased over the past year,” Noland said. “Meanwhile, everything from eggs to utilities to rent has skyrocketed. Helping our employees financially is among our top priorities for this institution, but we do not want to simply shift that burden to our students. We have committed to limiting tuition increases as much as possible and making up for any gaps through operational efficiencies.” 

Also, during today’s meeting, the Board approved promotions and the granting of tenure for 56 faculty members. 

“Our faculty are not only absolute experts in their fields of study, they also are incredibly dedicated to teaching and the success of our students” ETSU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academics Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle said. “As shown in the results from the State of the University survey, students overwhelmingly believe that their faculty care about them and are eager to help.”

The survey showed that 81% of students agreed with the statement that faculty care about their success, and 83% said faculty members are eager to assist them in their educational journeys.

In other business, the Board heard reports on the ongoing success of ETSU’s Army ROTC program, and the growth and success of the ‘Marching Bucs’ marching band, which recently was selected to perform in the 2024 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. 

Additionally, the Board elected new officers to the executive committee. Dr. Linda Latimer will serve a second term as Board Chair. Steve DeCarlo will continue to serve as Vice Chair, while Melissa Steagall-Jones will serve as the third executive committee member. Recently, ETSU’s Faculty Senate elected Dr. Steph Frye-Clark to serve as the faculty trustee beginning July 1. The ETSU Student Government Association elected and the Board of Trustees confirmed Aamir Shaikh to serve as the student trustee for the 2023-24 academic year.